- The permit for Energy Answers International's controversial waste-to-energy project in Baltimore was officially revoked by the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) on Monday. The company was found in violation of its permit terms because no construction had taken place in more than 18 months.
- Despite many setbacks this year, New York-based Energy Answers argued that it should be able to keep its 2010 Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity.
- The PSC disagreed with that claim, saying that "economic, esthetic and air and water pollution concerns" had changed since 2010. The city of Baltimore's withdrawal from a power-purchase agreement, which would have been a large source of revenue, was also cited.
Since it was proposed in 2009, this $1 billion project — which would have been one of the largest in the country — has faced strong community opposition. The 160-megawatt facility was going to produce electricity from refuse-derived fuel, but residents had many concerns about emissions.
According to the Washington Post, Baltimore has the most deaths from air pollution of any large U.S. city and the Curtis Bay neighborhood near the proposed facility is one of the most affected.
In December 2015, seven people were arrested for refusing to leave the Maryland Department of Environment's (MDE) offices in protest. The nonprofit Environmental Integrity Project had also threatened lawsuits if the project was allowed to move forward.
Whether community opposition, financial issues or other factors were the main cause it became clear that the project was essentially over when the MDE declared the permit invalid in March. This ruling from the PSC makes that final. If Energy Answers wants to proceed it would have to apply for a new permit in a process that can take at least 15 months.